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How many graduation events are you invited to attend? We are in the middle of a month of college and high school graduation ceremonies. Ceremonies where Pomp and Circumstance plays as a long line of robed, capped graduates march down the aisle looking so hopeful for their future.
Many decades ago, my graduate advisor told me the most useful thing I could learn was how to develop a Personal Picture Plan. He called this the three P’s to my future. Over the decades since I participated in the pomp and circumstance march, the Personal Picture Plan has been a valuable tool in reaching my goals and helping me make positive personal changes. Now are you saying, ok how do I draft a PPP? Creating your personal picture plan contains four steps:
Picture your vision
Set measurable goals
Find a coach and mentor
Measure your progress
Picture Your Vision. Start by finding a quiet place where you can picture your future. Now, support your picture with defining the reason for your picture of the future. This is the why behind your picture. Understanding your why will help you keep moving toward your pictured future even when you don’t feel like it. It is hard to reach your pictured future if you have not mapped out where you are going, why you want to be there and how to get there.
Set measurable goals. There are two parts in setting goals. First, identify your skills and what skills are needed to reach your picture. This step involves understanding your strengths, the assets you have to reach your future. It also will highlight where you need to develop skills or areas of change. This is a great exercise in creating more self-awareness and helps you to believe that your personal picture plan will be successful.
Now set measurable goals that represent small steps that bring you closer to your picture. The goals can be large but need to have small steps. Small steps are actions that you can do every day to bring you closer to your picture. For example, if your picture is to find a new job, your steps could be to apply for a job every day, to follow up each application with a personal phone call or visit to the company. Be as specific as possible. By noon, I will … I will spend every Wednesday lunch updating my goals.
Most importantly, set due-dates in order to reach these goals. Without a due-date, goals just remain dreams.
Find a Coach and Mentor. Find a good coach or mentor who can walk with you through your personal picture plan and help you stay on track. Your coach/mentor will help you by guiding you, giving you feedback and suggestions for how to reach your picture.
Measure Your Progress. As you move toward your personal picture, measure your progress. Change begins in your mind. If we believe it, we can achieve it. Visualize, in specific detail, what your picture looks like. Do you desire to be healthier, have a successful marriage, or a better job? For example, if you aspire to a better job, what does your dream work environment look like? What will your tasks be throughout the day at your new job? What will your new co-workers be like? What will your new salary be? Be specific so you can measure your progress.
Measuring how far you have come, and seeing your success, can motivate you to take the next step. Change takes time and it is therefore important to celebrate the small successes.
Remember to keep things simple; long-term success is built on baby steps moving you toward your picture. It does not matter how small the steps are as long as you keep going in the direction of your picture. God has a great plan for your life. Don’t forget though, that you don’t have to do it alone. Find the help you need.
I have strength for all things in him that gives me power. Philippians 4:13
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin, Discovery Counseling. Call us if you have any comments or questions; 434-808-2637.